Life in the electrical storeroom can be challenging for a lot of reasons. With orders to fulfill and check, vendors to manage, job orders to issue and more – the storeroom manager has his or her hands full. This post summarizes a recent survey we conducted of storeroom managers across our service area and includes a few of their verbatim comments. We thank all who participated. It’s always gratifying to know that your customers and others in the market are willing to share their experiences.
Survey Design & Methodology
We emailed the survey to a select customer base in North and South Carolina and Virginia – those who had a storeroom or were in the right situation to justify one. We also emailed to a list of non-customers to see if we could compare responses, i.e to determine if their experiences were different from our customers. The online survey instrument ran 25 questions and was anonymous unless customers wanted to enter to win one of 16 Amazon.com gift cards. Entry in the gift card drawing was strictly voluntary.
The survey questions ranged from status of the storeroom, how it’s managed, who is involved to the items kept in inventory to the types of additional programs supported in their overall inventory services function. We also asked how orders are generated, how frequently the storeroom is replenished and the average monthly spend on parts.
We also asked them to indicate which words best described the condition of their storeroom – from messy and disorganized to well run and clean. Finally, we also asked about titles, locations, company size and other typical classification questions. For EECO, this was a reality check and confirmation that what we were seeing in our business was reflected in the marketplace. Customers and non-customers alike received the same question sets.
A few of the survey highlights
- Status of their electrical storeroom and who manages it. The vast majority of respondents to our survey indicated they had an onsite electrical storeroom managed by a company employee. This was as expected and did not indicate fundamental change in the market, e.g. outsourcing of management.
- Number of SKUs in stock. The average storeroom had fewer than 200 SKUs, which is a desirable number according to EECO support. A small segment of the base indicated an average of 500 SKUs in stock, which would be a much higher than usual number.
- Services utilized. Very few of those responding had vending machines for parts and nearly all had adequately labeled, barcoded bins and shelving. More than half had a critical spares program. We know from prior experience that critical spares is an area of frequent confusion, i.e. – what constitutes a critical spare? A small number had a vendor Parts Management Agreement in place.
- Parts kept in inventory. Most popular items were fuses and circuit breakers, wire, cable and wiring devices, motors, lamps and various standard controls such as relays, timers, photo-electrics, proximity sensors and push buttons.
- Satisfaction with their storeroom. Satisfaction with their electrical storerooms appears to be high with most frequently mentioned descriptors including Satisfactory, Runs Well, Clean, Neat, Well Organized and Efficient.
- Which industries responded? The vast majority – over 66% – were industrial manufacturing facilities from industries such as heavy manufacturing, pulp & paper, food & beverage. Government/education and Electrical Contractors comprised about 10% each of the study respondents.
- Who responded. Not surprising, responses came from Purchasing Management, Buyers, Maintenance Managers and Plant/Facilities Managers. Very few identified themselves as having ‘Storeroom Manager’ in their title.
- Performance measures of storerooms. Performance metrics used in order of use were Minimum Inventory Levels, Frequency of Replenishment (was item replenished when due), Inventory Savings realized, Stock-outs. Fill Rates and Achieving TCO Objectives were used much less often than the top four. R. Keith Mobley of Life Cycle Engineering has a short piece of reducing TCO that’s worth a read if you’re not familiar with the concept.
- Benefits of a storeroom. In order, the top benefits listed were Product Availability, Reduced Downtime, Improved Production Uptime, On-site Emergency Material and Ease of Material Replenishment. Material Standardization was important but less so than the preceding. Of note was that Price Consistency was twice as important as Price Reduction, with the latter being at the bottom of the list.
Some interesting quotes from survey respondents
They were in response to two questions.
- Local and available with fair pricing, focusing on present demands.
- Weekly visits to scan stock levels – a hassle free system for me.
- Quick delivery, price and knowledgeable in-house customer service.
- VMI vendors who have time to manage our inventory and sometimes even make beneficial decisions that we don’t have time to make ourselves.
- They usually fill my stock orders within a week or less.
2. What do you wish your storeroom vendors would do or offer?
- Ability to scan orders to my PC
- Keeping more stock on hand for immediate shipment. This would reduce downtime waiting on parts, thus increasing efficiency.
- Part numbers that translate to our maintenance system.
- Offer some KPIs on costs/product turns/ways to save even more.
- Work with us to maintain inventory as our budget would allow.
To learn more about what’s new in electrical storeroom best practices, email us at ISTeam@EECO-net.com Or call 800.993.3326